Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling by fws15200


Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling

                          FINAL REPORT

  Department Chair:        Rie Rogers Mitchell, Ph.D.
  Project Director:        Rie Rogers Mitchell, Ph.D.
  Department:              Educational Psychology & Counseling (EPC)
  Campus:                  California State University, Northridge
  Address:                 18111 Nordhoff St.,
                           Northridge, CA 91330-8265
  Telephone:               (818) 677-2599
  Title:                   Ensuring Information Competence in EPC
                           Graduate Students
  Amount of Funds:         $5400
  Date of Submission:      February 26, 2001
  Date of Final Report:    June 4, 2002
                                                          Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                           Page 2 of 10

Purpose of Proposal

The purpose of the proposal was to incorporate the skills of information
competence in the department=s student learning outcomes, so that
information competence is a required learning outcome for the degree
program (Grant Proposal, Document #1). This enables students to
conduct successfully the type of research necessary for a thesis of master=s
degree quality and fulfills one of the requirements for graduation, as well as
provides life-long professional skills in dealing competently with information,
plus thinking and reasoning.

Two core processes were identified to ensure information competence in EPC
graduate students:

      1. The first core process involved an initial assessment of computer
         skills and basic information competence of students enrolled in a
         required prerequisite class, followed by access to appropriate referrals
         and developmental resources for those who need additional support
         and course assignments to enhance skills, with a final assessment of
         skills before movement into the graduate program.

      2. The second core process involved infusing ACRL competency
         standards into specific core classes (including EPC 602, Research
         Principles), followed by an assessment of students= demonstrated
         ability of information competence before moving to the final phase of
         graduate study – the master’s thesis/project.

                                                         Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                          Page 3 of 10

Project Activities

March 2001: Identification of ICC members

The following three faculty members were identified to work with the chair to
carry out the purpose of this proposal and to become members of the
departmental Information Competence Committee (ICC): Gregory Jackson,
Bernard Nisenholz, Rie Rogers Mitchell (chair), and Merril Simon. These
members were selected because of an expressed interest and expertise in the
subject and, synchronistically, represented all faculty ranks: assistant,
associate, “full,” and FERP.

March to June 2001: Meetings of ICC Committee

The ICC selected the date and site of the faculty retreat (August 20-21, 2001
at the Casa Serena Hotel, Oxnard, CA) and developed the agenda (Document

After studying information competence skills developed by several sources
(e.g., ACES Technology Interest Group, 1999; Florida International University
IL, CSU-Monterey Bay), the ICC decided to propose a model to the faculty that
infused IC skills into the curriculum paired with three draft lists of
competencies: Basic IC Skills, Research Skills, and Professional Skills.
     The proposed model included:
       1. A plan for ensuring that students would enter the master’s degree
          programs with basic skills.
       2. Research skills infused into the Educational Research course (EPC
          602), a course required of all students. Students would use these
          skills in preparation for their comprehensive examination and/or
       3. Professional skills covered in courses within each of the seven
          master’s degree specialties (i.e., career counseling, college
          counseling/student services, early childhood education, educational
          psychology, marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and
          school psychology).
The ICC also identified goals for the retreat and developed a survey for faculty
members to determine their IC needs.

                                                       Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                        Page 4 of 10

August 20-21, 2001: EPC Faculty Retreat

     All full-time faculty members (including five FERP faculty) attended the
retreat, except for two faculty members who were out of the country (one
was on a Fulbright scholarship in Africa; the other had not as yet returned
from a trip abroad). In addition five part-time faculty members were included
who were scheduled to teach the Educational Research course (EPC 605) in
the Fall 2001

    The goals of the retreat (as determined by the ICC) were:
     1.    To feel stimulated and excited about starting the new school year.
     2.    To come together as colleagues and friends
     3.    To identify information competencies for departmental master’s
     4.    To plan how IC skills can be infused throughout the curriculum
     5.    To discuss what types of assignments might be incorporated to
           increase IC
     6.    To discuss how our students’ IC skills can be assessed
     7.    To examine how we can further develop our own IC skills

                                                         Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                          Page 5 of 10

Each faculty member was given a packet that included the following
materials: Agenda, Fact Sheet on Information Literacy (Document #3), RFP
for IC Grants (from Susan C, Curzon), departmental IC Grant Proposal, IC
Assessment Methods by Learning Domains with examples (Document #4),
Faculty Technology Survey (Document #5), and draft documents of criteria
for Basic IC Skills, Research IC Skills, and Professional IC skills. The ICC
members also had a “scripted” agenda of activities (Document #6).

Faculty members were enthusiastic about this subject and lively discussions
ensued regarding: (a) what skills are basic, research, or professional
competencies; (2) how should IC be infused in the curriculum; (3) what types
of assignments would increase IC; (4) how can IC be assessed, and (5) how
can faculty members improve their skills.

By the end of the retreat, all goals had been met:
      1. Faculty members agreed that they would join together to support
         the goal that EPC students would become information competent
         learners by graduation (Goal 2 above).
      2. Criteria lists of Basic (Document #7), Research (Document #8),
         and Professional (Document #9) competencies were refined (Goal 3
      3. The ICC model was tentatively adopted with identified modifications
         (Document #10) to be discussed at the September faculty meeting
         (Goal 4 above).
      4. Ideas were discussed regarding types of assignments that might be
         incorporated into the curriculum. (Goal 5 above).
            a. Bev Cabello, EPC 602 course mentor, will design a course
                prototype that includes model assignments (Document #11).
            b. More discussion will take place at future faculty meetings
      1. It was decided to use a basic skills survey (Document #12) to
         assess students in the prerequisite class (EPC 451). It was
         recognized that a sophisticated assessment method would have to be
         developed in order to assess if, in fact, applicants had mastered the
         basic skills. The faculty agreed that, until this was accomplished,
         mastery of basic skills could not be used as a criterion for admission.
         However, 2002 applicants will be given a list of basic skills and
         learning resources and asked to master these skills before classes
         begin in the fall (Goal 6 above) (Document #10).
      2. Faculty identified their desired areas of growth, using the Faculty
         Technology Survey (Goal 7 above) (Document #5).

                                                         Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                          Page 6 of 10

September 5, 2001: Faculty Meeting

From the department retreat, a series of recommendations were drafted
based on the ICC model (Document #10); these were discussed and revised
at the faculty meeting. In addition, information competence was included as
a performance outcome in the department mission statement (Document
#15). We recognize that additional recommendations concerning
assignments and assessment also needed to be developed.

September – December, 2001: IC Assessment of Students in Prerequisite

In two sections of a required prerequisite course (i.e., EPC 451- Introduction
to Counseling), basic skills of 56 students were assessed (Document #13).
It was found that:
      1. Fifty-two students had a computer at home; one did not.
      2. Forty-nine students had a printer at home; two did not.
      3. Forty-nine students used e-mail often or very often; 3 rarely; 4 did
         not respond.
      4. Overall the mean of 32 skills in five technology categories (M = 2.6)
         were higher than the mean of 19 skills in six library information
         categories (M = 2.130, with the mean of 19 skills in information
         resource awareness was mid-way between the previous two
         categories (M = 2.46).

The results of the study were shared with students, and appropriate referral
resources (Documents #14 and #17) were provided. In addition, EPC 451
instructors arranged for a library lecture for their class.

November 2001: Proposal to Present IC Competencies at National Conference
for Counselor Educators.

Three members of the departmental ICC submitted a proposal to present a
program on Information Competence at the national conference of the
Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors (ACES) in Park City, Utah
in October 2002. A copy of the proposal is included (Document #16). In
May 2002, the proposal was accepted and will be presented on October 17,
2002 by Rie Rogers Mitchell, Greg Jackson, and Merril Simon.

January 2002: Department Web Pages

                                                          Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                           Page 7 of 10

Department web pages includes the proposal, activities,
and deliverables.

February 2002: Faculty Workshop

Based on faculty needs (document #5) surveyed at the fall retreat, a SPSS
workshop was given for interested faculty by Beverly Cabello. Most of the
faculty attended.

February – May 2002: Discussions regarding assessment of information
competency skills.

Three information competency skill sets had been identified by the faculty:
Basic (#7), Research (#8), and Professional (#9) Competencies. Each of
these skill sets need to be acquired and assessed at different times in the
student’s journey towards a master’s degree.

    •   Basic Competencies – prerequisite skills, i.e., skills that students
        should acquire before admittance into a departmental master’s degree

        Students applying to the department for admittance in fall 2002 (465
        applicants for 180 spaces) were apprised of this requirement and a
        self-assessment handout was distributed, along with a list of resources
        (Document #17). Acquisition of these prerequisite skills was not
        used as one of the admittance criteria, because an assessment
        approach had not been developed.

        During spring 2002 semester, the Executive Director of Distance
        learning, Tyler Blake, was contacted to discuss the possibility of
        offering all prerequisite courses on-line, including modules that would
        help students master basic competencies and assess performance.
        Tyler explained how this could be done and proposed that we meet
        with interested EPC faculty.

        Several faculty members expressed interest in developing on-line
        courses (including basic competencies). Tentatively this work will
        begin during fall 2002 for spring 2003 enrollment. Although, not all
        students will take prerequisites courses on-line, on-line basic
        competencies modules could be required of all applicants.

    •   Research Competencies – skills that should be acquired during a
        student’s first year in the master’s program by successfully completing

                                                     Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                      Page 8 of 10

    EPC 602 – Research Principles – and through research requirements
    in other courses.

    All EPC 602 faculty members (including part-time faculty)scheduled to
    teach the course in fall 2001 attended the retreat and helped develop
    the research competencies. They agreed to include these
    competencies in their course outline and to arrange for a library
    presentation at least once during the semester to help students meet
    these competencies. However, no formal assessment measure was

    During the spring 2002 semester, Lynn Lampert, M.L.S., Senior
    Assistant Librarian at CSU Northridge, was contacted to discuss the
    assessment challenge. Lynn suggested that two to three modules be
    developed by the librarians for the five sections of EPC 602 scheduled
    for fall 2002 that would include:
    (1) an on-line assessment of basic skills; results would be shared
           with the faculty;
    (2) training modules that would help students meet both basic and
           research competencies, and
    (3) a post-test assessment to determine if students acquired the
           required basic and research skills.

•   Professional Competencies – skills necessary for students to learn
    before graduation.

    These competencies will be learned in several classes: EPC 602,
    courses within specific options, and during the thesis/project process
    (EPC 698C). We, as a faculty, need to identify in which classes the
    competencies are (or can be) covered and determine an assessment
    approach. One approach is to provide each student with a sign-off
    sheet. When a student masters a professional goal, it is signed-off by
    a faculty member. When all goals have been obtained, an Information
    Competence Mastery Certificate, detailing the student’s skills, could be
    awarded to the student (and included on his/her résumé).

                                                            Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                             Page 9 of 10

The grant has been very helpful in supporting the first step of our ultimate
goal: to develop information competence in order to enhance life-long
learning and professional skills for all master’s degree graduates. To move
towards this goal, we have developed three information competency skill sets
and have begun to include these in the curricula. We are sharing the process
we used to develop these competencies with our colleagues at other
universities through a presentation at a conference for counselor educators.
Also, we have started to develop methods for assessing student mastery of
the competencies, and we have completed the deliverables promised in the
grant proposal (see below).

Yet, I believe that we are just at the beginning of what I hope will be a model
program. We still need to: (1) further identify in which classes information
competency goals will be reached – especially professional competencies; (2)
develop doable assessment approaches for each of the three skill sets; (3)
infuse information competence through out the curriculum; that is,
consistently apply learned skills in all courses; and (4) increase faculty skills in
information competence to such an extent that it becomes natural to utilize
and teach these skills.

                                                         Mitchell (EPC)/Final IC Report
                                                                         Page 10 of 10

1. Assessment instrument used to assess basic computer skills (Document
2. List of appropriate referral sources (Document #17)
3. Determination regarding how students will be assessed after use of
   referrals (See description above: February – May 2002: Discussions
   regarding assessment of information competency skills.)
4. Syllabi for required courses in department that specifically identify
   assignments that promote information competence (Document #11)
5. Department mission statement that includes information competence as
   an objective (Document #15)
6. Representative assignments in which students are being asked to
   demonstrate the various skills of information competence (Document
7. Final Report (Document #18)
8. Web page that provide the proposal, the activities, and the deliverables


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